Canucks top leads: No offence, but Toni Utunen demonstrably a defender Leave a comment

Canucks top leads: No offence, but Toni Utunen demonstrably a defender

Vancouver possibility Toni Utunen is really a smooth skating Finnish defencemen whom does not set up numerous points

Finland defenceman Toni Utunen (left) leans on Sweden winger and fellow Vancouver Canucks possibility Nils Hoglander during the Finland Sweden medal that is bronze at the 2020 globe juniors in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Jan. 5, 2020. AP Photo/Petr David Josek.We’re fourteen days far from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The Vancouver Canucks don’t have choose before the 3rd round. Because they get ready for the draft we’re assessing towards the top 10 leads when you look at the system, starting today at No. 10 with Toni Utunen.

The Canucks have struck house runs when you look at the round that is first the last few years, but a high 10 list means looking into significantly more than the players whom must allow it to be, because the most readily useful teams find players within the sides regarding the draft. Is Toni Utunen one particular dudes? With all the Canucks’ current blue line corps filled up with veterans, you will find most likely areas in the future available when you look at the next few seasons. Let’s take a good look at this smooth skating Finn.

TONI UTUNEN (#10 possibility)

As a 14 old, playing against player two years older, Toni Utunen was nearly a point per game player year. He’s got perhaps perhaps maybe not scored at that price since. There’s a large caveat here, though: Utunen kept going within age brackets, always avant loans hours having fun with the older young ones. At age 15, he skated for Tappara’s Under 18 group. Aged 16, he had been on Tappara’s top junior squad. A number of their teammates had been set to show 20. The the following year he switched expert, skating 11 times when it comes to senior Tappara squad into the Liiga (Finland’s elite league) and in addition being loaned off to LeKi when you look at the 2nd tier Mestis league for 28 games.

Utunen showed sufficient to draw the eyes for the Canucks. He’s never scored like he did as he first hit his teenagers, however it’s clear the skill that drove him towards the web in those times has assisted him refine their protective game. If you’re maybe not planning to score against older players, you’re planning to need to be really proficient at stopping them if you’re likely to hang in there. During the 2019 World Juniors, he played on Finland’s pairing that is first defensive alongside Henri Jokiharju, helping lead the Finns to silver. (The flashy Jokiharju just completed up their 2nd NHL season.)

That exact same period, Utunen became an everyday into the Tappara lineup, just because he didn’t play a lot.

During the 2020 World Juniors, he wore an ‘A’ when it comes to Finnish globe junior squad but once more struggled to obtain much ice time for Tappara. In reality, their playing time diminished after he came back through the globes ironically the defenceman Tappara acquired mid period and whom forced Utunen down seriously to eighth from the level chart was former Canucks defenceman Adam Polasek.

“Of course, that will have already been a fascinating option,” their agent Jarmo Kork said via text message about whether he’d have actually checked to try out when it comes to Utica Comets in 2020 21, instead of another period with Tappara, in a schedule where in actuality the COVID 19 pandemic does not take place. “But he could be attempting to concentrate on the future period, which begins in a few days. He desires to grow into an improved player later on, so he could one play when you look at the NHL, which can be their fantasy. time”

Dobber Prospects’ Cam Robinson has watched plenty of Utunen throughout the last 2 yrs and called the young Finn the “consummate defensive defender.” Toni Utunen of Finland celebrates aided by the championship trophy after beating the usa 3 2 when you look at the silver medal game regarding the 2019 world junior hockey championship at Rogers Arena on Jan. 5, 2019. Deep Lam / Getty pictures files.The role he employs now could be among the steady, be home more type. He performs this by effortlessly utilizing their stick and space control to thwart oncoming threats. Despite perhaps not being the biggest player nowadays, he manoeuvres and angles well down low and may manage the leading regarding the web too,” said Robinson. “You will sometimes see him leap in to the play and flash some of these previous (offensive) characteristics, but don’t ever expect it. He plays a safe and style that is efficient should provide it self well to North American pro hockey. Nonetheless it shall additionally prohibit him from playing way too high up any lineups.”

Finnish leads journalist Miika Arponen concurred as to what works in Utunen’s game. Exact exact Same elements continue to be here which were their skills as he ended up being drafted: their effortless skating, protective understanding plus the no danger puck handling, but he’sn’t actually gone ahead in virtually any aspect recently,” said Arponen. Having said that, Utunen’s growing reputation as a Mr. trustworthy could express a plateau, he warned.

“ He has got been provided a way to have a permanent i’m all over this Tappara’s defence but thus far he’sn’t had the opportunity to carry into it. And regrettably predicated on pre period games it appears become instance once more this current year while he’s projected to end up being the defenceman that is seventh Tappara once more.”

Utunen appears set to relax and play out of the 12 months when you look at the Liiga after which will make a jump into the United states Hockey League for 2021 22. He would have to sign a contract first, needless to say. Include it all up plus in a hypothetical future where he’s in a position to turn things up a notch, win the trust regarding the coaches at Tappara this year, then soar greater again once he’s joined Utica the following year, placing himself on program for NHL consideration, it still appears Utunen’s higher end in the NHL degree could be as a sixth or 7th defenceman.

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